What is Gentrification? Its Definition, Causes, and Effects Essay

Gentrification. It’s those types of terms that gets thrown around in the news and casual discussion. It’s an analysis slapped onto the opening of a funky cafe or the closing of a well-loved store. It could suggest whole communities displaced, significant racial change, and increased homelessness.

But what is gentrification? And it is it always a bad thing?

a definition of gentrification:

Gentrification could be the occurrence of affluent folks stepping into less wealthy areas, renovating domiciles and attracting new companies. In the act, home values increase, rents go up, and poorer community residents are displaced.

The word is defined by a significant demographic shift — a rise in the amount of affluent residents in a nabe and a reduction in the number of poorer residents.

Or, as summed-up by the Centers for Disease Control: “Gentrification is frequently thought as the transformation of areas from low value to quality.”

Sociologist Ruth Glass while the cover of her 1964 book London: facets of Change

The expression “gentrification” had been created by a Brit.

Ruth Glass, a British sociologist, first came up with the definition of in 1964 whenever explaining just how middle-class individuals were moving into previously working-class communities in London and displacing the less affluent residents.

In introduction to the woman book London: facets of Change, Glass wrote:

One after the other, lots of the working class quarters of London have now been invaded by the middle classes — top and reduced. Shabby, modest mews and cottages — two rooms up and two down — happen absorbed, when their leases have expired, and now have become elegant, expensive residences. Larger Victorian homes, downgraded in early in the day or current periods — of utilized as lodging houses or had been otherwise in numerous occupation — have now been upgraded yet again. Nowadays, several homes are being sub-divided into high priced flats or “houselets” (in terms of the new real estate snob jargon). The existing social status and value of such dwellings are generally in inverse regards to their size, plus in any instance enormously inflated in comparison with past levels in their neighbourhoods. When this technique of “gentrification” starts in a district, it continues on rapidly until all or the majority of the original working class occupiers are displaced, and also the whole social character associated with district is changed.

Problem? Glass’ description could just as effortlessly affect a variety of housing-starved metro areas today — san francisco bay area, nyc, Washington, Boston — albeit with different housing stock, ethnic groups, historic and transitional communities, and local symbols of affluence.

Knickerbocker Avenue in Bushwick. Picture by Mary Hautman

Gentrification is actually rich individuals displacing poorer individuals.

But within that meaning, there’s ample room for many controversial commentary. Gentrification was invoked in sets from criticism of a developer’s tone-deaf trash party towards the reason for helicopter parenting, and also called a human rights breach.

As a result of gentrification’s tangled relationship with development and financial and racial tensions, people often confuse it with phenomena like brand new construction, the expansion of cafes, and disputes between cultural teams.

But it’s exactly about that demographic shift plus the area’s upsurge in value. Sure, that value change may lead to increased building, twee coffee shops, and racially inflected conflicts — but those results aren’t inherent to gentrification.

Bogart Street and Flushing Avenue in Bushwick. Picture by Mary Hautman

What exactly causes gentrification?

Permanently or bad, gentrification is a social event which includes roots in wider economic and societal forces, including a super taut rental market, insufficient affordable housing, and perceived “trendiness.”

Urban theorist Richard Florida has written that gentrification’s impacts “are outward indications of the scarcity of quality urbanism.” Fundamentally, when there’s not enough housing in a desirable community (rather than sufficient neighborhoods in town which are desirable), individuals with money will displace those without.

Some think that what causes gentrification are rooted in racist bank-imposed financial policy: previously redlined areas — in which black people along with other minorities were denied house mortgages — became ripe for gentrification because disinvestment results in blight, high crime, and low home rates and rents. If there’s good housing stock or lofts in these metropolitan communities, bargain housing can in the course of time attract artists alongside imaginative harbingers of gentrification.

Another wrinkle is that many gentrifying communities in Brooklyn — including Fort Greene, Clinton Hill, PLG, and Bed Stuy — have quite high rates of black colored house ownership.

Recently, a few research reports have discovered that harmful gentrification — the type that results in displacement — might be more unusual than previously thought. Controversial Columbia University professor Lance Freeman, that is considered a respected expert on gentrification, has argued that there’s little empirical proof to show that displacement is a foregone conclusion when affluent people move into a neighborhood.

In his 2006 book Here Goes the ‘Hood, Freeman argues that rates of moving are a comparable in both gentrified and non-gentrified communities. Basically, Freeman thinks that reports of displacement are overblown.

4th Avenue regarding edge of Park Slope. Picture by Jaclyn Warren

Do you know the side effects of gentrification?

Because of the displacement of long-time residents and businesses, gentrification is oftentimes seen as a bad occurrence.

It’s crucial that you note that the adverse effects of gentrification are experienced overwhelmingly by tenants and never homeowners (whom reap some of the advantages of gentrification’s increased home values). Renters don’t get to share the maximum amount of in the neighborhood’s value increase. They just end up paying more or leaving.

If a typically working-class community out of the blue becomes unaffordable for current renters, they wind up having to move further from their jobs and city amenities — taking on extra burdens of time and cash, and no much longer participating in their old community.

A 2015 report unearthed that gentrification alienates NYCHA tenants because longtime-local eateries, laundromats, along with other businesses are changed by high priced stores and offices that NYCHA residents can neither afford nor find work with.

Bike in McCarren Park. Picture by Mary Hautman.

Do you know the positive effects of gentrification?

In the 1970s, gentrification had been in fact considered the best thing — a way of injecting money and resources into decaying and underpopulated urban centers.

Gentrification has also been demonstrated to produce more racially integrated areas, revitalize a neighborhood’s economy, and it has been correlated with higher school test ratings and a notably lowered criminal activity price.

By driving up property values, gentrification additionally advances the home equity of longtime property owners in a location.

East Williamsburg. Picture by Mary Hautman

How do we make gentrification less bad and more good?

Possibly the main option to increase a neighborhood’s affordability and variety is to raise the accessibility to affordable housing. More powerful rent legislation, community land trusts, co-ops and taxpayer-funded development are all ways to assist lower-income renters remain in a neighborhood even as wealthier people move around in. Some measures — specifically lease regulation and federal government subsidies — are more controversial than the others.

Emily Molina, a professor at Brooklyn university whose research targets the uneven impact of this foreclosure crisis, has stated:

“we have to be advocating more general public investment in these projects, specially at federal level, and make sure distribution into the most equitable means, including to different neighborhoods. The personal market will not accomplish that.”

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has proposed creating brand new programs to aid residents buy homes within their communities. As longtime readers might remember, here is the approach that permitted Brownstoner commenter fiordiligi and lots of other Brownstoner readers in which to stay Brooklyn even while it becomes more costly.

Federal financing for affordable housing is another viable solution — if it absolutely was easier for lower-income residents to afford surviving in their neighborhoods, displacement wouldn’t be as commonplace.

Different ways to balance the results of gentrification creep are to patronize long-term companies and get a part of block associations or other neighborhood teams. Richard Florida contends that increased financing for general public transportation and schools can disperse the kind of concentrated need leading to gentrification.

But exactly what do you consider? Would these measures assist create the vibrant, racially integrated, mixed-class areas which could take the very best of both gentrified and non-gentrified globes?

Bed Stuy. Picture by Mary Hautman

Related Stories
Does Gentrification Help the Poor? NYCHA Residents Weigh In
Gentrification in Park Slope and Past: What You Can Do?
Brooklyn Group Claims Gentrification Violates Human Rights

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